Cover to Cover

Multigenerational rage, holy listening, and the unveiling of another way

A conversation between Parker Palmer, Stephen Lewis, Matthew Wesley Williams, and Dori Baker about the book Another Way

I've been intrigued with Another Way for a while, and not just because of its beautiful cover. It's written by Stephen Lewis, Matthew Wesley Williams, and Dori Baker—three theological educators who helped effect a massive transformation at the Forum for Theological Exploration (formerly known as the Fund for Theological Education) by leading the community through a series of tough, vulnerable conversations about the gap between mission and reality. They write about this process in their book, which aims to help Christian leaders create spaces for the kinds of conversations that can effect real change.

Parker Palmer (who co-hosts with singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer a beautiful podcast called The Growing Edge) convened a conversation with Lewis, Williams, and Baker in early June, about a week after the killing of George Floyd ignited nationwide protests of police violence against black and brown people. They talked about Another Way and its wisdom for the current moment, when a new level of public conversation about white supremacy is at once stirring up hopes and demonstrating that fear is a powerful driver against structural change.

It's an honest and wise conversation about how to bridge the gap between the world we've inherited and the world as we'd like it to be—even (and perhaps especially) during unsettling and destabilizing times. "We lean back into these fragments of the shipwreck, looking for some way to buoy ourselves, when in fact there’s an undercurrent that’s going to take us under," says Williams. "But that’s where life with the Spirit is. Jesus says that the Spirit blows where it will. She can be a soft breather; she can also be a hurricane."

Use the player below to listen to the conversation.

Elizabeth Palmer

The Century senior editor is the author of Faith in a Hidden God: Luther, Kierkegaard, and the Binding of Isaac (Fortress) and the weekly e-newsletter Books Worth Reading.

All articles »